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elementary students running in the bulldog invite

Otsego students get the running bug early in school. They participate in Mileage Club twice a week at recess and many of them embrace the friendly competition of it to see how far and fast they can go. Our students can also see the success of the cross country running teams at both the middle and high school. 

Now, they get a chance to be more involved with that legacy with the new elementary bulldog cross country program. The program will be co-directed by high school cross country coach, Steve Long, and Dix Street Elementary Physical Education teacher, Darcy Bentley. 

“I love Mileage Club and this is another way for our kids to get excited about running,” Bentley says. “The Bulldog Invite is always a fun event for our elementary school kids every year. This gives them an opportunity to train and prepare for it, not just go out and run on race day.”

  • The program is for boys and girls in 3rd-5th grades. 

  • Sign-ups are starting now and end August 26th or until the registrations reach 25 students. 

  • There will be one team at each of the three elementary schools

Participants will practice two times a week and build up their running endurance to compete in two cross country meets; the second meet will be the culmination of their season at the Bulldog Invite on October 1st. Cost is $30 per student and includes a t-shirt, snacks and registration for the two meets

This program has been something Coach Long has been thinking about for a long time. When he came to Otsego in 1999, there was only a small cross country team at the high school and no team at the middle school. He was determined to change the running environment and eventually got a middle school team going with MS coach Peter Burrill and together they organized the Bulldog Invite. That invite has grown to welcoming in more than 100 teams (about 10,000 runners) on a single day. About 10 years ago, Long worked with the elementary PE teachers to add in a Pups Race at the end of the invite for elementary students to run a 2-mile course which draws dozens of kids. “We have a traveling trophy that hangs out with the winning school’s PE teacher for the year,” Long explains. “All three PE teachers do a great job getting our kids moving.”

Over the summer, they all worked together to bring this idea to reality, “I’m really excited about giving kids and families this opportunity to participate in a sport I love. I really enjoy seeing kids run and push themselves.”

The program will begin on Monday, August 29th. You can sign up at this link or complete the paper registration form available at your child’s school. Registration link

“This is truly a running community that we live in and we’re pumped to be able to offer this to our kids,” Long says.

“Kids in elementary school love to run and this gives them an opportunity to start a lifelong love for running and being healthy,” Bentley adds.

If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Bentley at or Coach Long at 

Elementary students running at a XC meet
Group of kids at the starting line for XC meet

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